In anticipation of the their centenary celebration of prayer for Christian unity in 2008, the Franciscan Friars of Atonement joined with the National Association of Pastoral Musicians (NPM) to sponsor a national hymn competition whose theme was based on the prayer of Jesus, “That All May Be One,” (John 17:21). The competition was the brainchild of Fr. James Gardiner, SA and Dr. J. Michael McMahon, President of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians.

Pastoral musician Steven Ottományi and Paulist Father Ricky Manalo have been chosen as winners of the hymn competition. Fifteen hundred dollars will be awarded to Father Ricky Manalo, CSP as the composer of a new hymn and $1,000 to Steven Ottományi as the writer of a new text for an already-familiar melody.

The winning hymns will give a voice to Christian unity celebrations throughout 2007 and 2008. They will premier at the national convention of pastoral musicians in Indianapolis in July 2007. Steven Ottományi's hymn will be sung at both the opening and closing events, and Father Ricky Manalo's winning Communion song will be sung during the festive Eucharistic celebration on July 11, the Memorial of Saint Benedict.

Steven Ottományi, Director of Liturgy and Music at St. Vincent de Paul Parish in Huntington Beach, California, has created a new hymn text entitled “Family of Faith” that may be sung to several different tunes familiar to English-speaking Christians. In just four brief stanzas the hymn forms a prayer to Christ to bring about the change of heart required for genuine unity in one family of faith.

Father Ricky Manalo, a well-known composer and author, is currently pursuing doctoral studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkley, California. He has collaborated with Spanish and Vietnamese text writers to produce a new Communion song entitled “That All May Be One in Christ.” Rodolfo López and Nguyen Dinh Dien translated the text of Manalo's English refrain and then each created three original verses in Spanish and Vietnamese in keeping with the theme of the song yet reflecting their own unique cultural perspective. The result is a liturgical song for the Communion procession that both seeks and expresses unity in diversity.

"It is our hope that these two hymns promoting Christian unity will be used by local churches for their ecumenical celebrations," said Fr. James Gardiner, SA. "In particular, we encourage everyone to use these hymns during the 2008 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity as the Friars and Sisters of the Atonement celebrate its centenary."

Songs are available here and on the National Pastoral Musicians website, www.npm.org.

Family of Faith by Steven Ottományi

That All May Be One in Christ by Fr. Ricky Manalo, CSP

Choir performs at the NPM Convention's festive Eucharist celebration during which the humn That all may be one in Crist premiered.

Choir performs at the NPM Convention's festive
Eucharist celebration during which the hymn
That All May Be One in Christ premiered.